When he told me on Friday morning, you could have knocked me over with the proverbial feather. Aside from peeling his face off and announcing he was an evil space alien, it was the last thing I expected him to say. After 15 years at the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, Tom Cocchiaro was officially a local institution, so for him to be let go unceremoniously on a random Thursday in August was certainly a surprise to anyone who has worked with him. Even worse, it was a total surprise to him. If you read the account in the Portsmouth Herald, that is pretty clear.
What isn't clear is why. We just had a terrifically successful eCruise (that's Tom, topside) that Tom had planned and managed. The Chamber annual dinner held just a couple weeks ago was a big hit, too, from all reports. It could simply be a cost-cutting move for the Chamber, and we'll know that soon if his replacement is conspicuously young and affordable. Which is fine, I suppose, as long as you realize that his experience and institutional knowledge (he had worked under, what, 5 or 6 different directors?) can not be replaced.
What's also unclear is the effect this will have on the eCoast organization in general. Tom was essentially the point man for most of the eCoast programs, and the last time the Chamber sacked our main contact (Ginny Griffith), the eCoast was almost scuttled completely.
In the end, of course, this an opportunity for Tom. He's bright, creative, articulate, professional, and highly connected. I know I'll keep him in mind for projects and positions going forward, and so should you.